ON STANDBY: Solihull is on standby to help refugees
Solihull is “on standby” to help refugees fleeing the growing crisis in war-torn Afghanistan.
Local authorities are being called on to assist with a resettlement programme, as thousands look to escape a nation where Taliban forces have rapidly reasserted control.
Many fleeing the violence, which follows the withdrawal of the UK and American military, are now expected to seek sanctuary in Britain.
Solihull had previously helped find new homes for those engulfed by another humanitarian crisis in Syria six years ago.
Asked if the borough would once again come to the aid of those caught up in the latest conflict, a council spokeswoman confirmed it was “on standby to provide assistance where we can.”
Although no numbers for how many families the borough could be looking to take on have been confirmed at this stage, with events in the Middle East changing by the hour.
Other West Midlands authorities, such as Birmingham and Dudley, had already confirmed they would be assisting.
The first rescue plane carrying evacuees and stranded Britons touched down in Oxfordshire this morning.
Its arrival came as ministers committed to help resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees in the long-term, with 5,000 in the first year.
Speaking to the BBC earlier today, Home Secretary Priti Patel described this target as “deliverable.”
“It would be terrible quite frankly to bring people and not be able to give them the support that they would need in terms of accommodation, resettlement and giving them the opportunity to build a new life in the UK,” she said.
Moving forward, the resettlement scheme is expected to follow a similar programme to the one adopted for those fleeing Syria.
Solihull Council’s cabinet had signed-up to this initiative in December 2015, working alongside the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership.
Although the decision session had followed accusations that the local authority had “dragged its feet” in the months prior.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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